Draw out extracts of essential oils from the roots, leaves, seeds, and blossoms of plants, and what do you have? The magic of aromatherapy come to life!
Aromatherapy is a 6000-year-old healing modality that has been shown to alleviate anxiety and depression, soothe headaches, relieve pain, help fight cancer, and even heal arthritis! Depending on your ailment, you can apply essential oils topically, as with a massage, or stimulate your senses by breathing in the essential oil through an aromatic diffuser. Whatever your pleasure, treating yourself to a 5-minute aromatherapy break is time well spent!
The Science of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy came to the forefront in the modern world due to the efforts of French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé, who discovered the potent healing possibilities of essential oils when he applied lavender oil to a burn. After analyzing many different essential oils on burns, skin infections, gangrene, and wounds in soldiers during World War I, he founded the science of aromatherapy in 1928. Aromatherapy has only grown in popularity, and is practiced by medical professionals worldwide.
The Healing Benefits of Aromatherapy
Although research has yet to explain exactly how aromatherapy works…work it does! One explanation is that essential oils activate your smell receptors, which in turn communicate with specific parts of your brain responsible for storing and processing emotions and memories. Which could explain why aromatherapy has such a marked effect on mood. Studies have shown that lavender oil, for instance, has the same effect on brain cells that sedative drugs do!
Another explanation is that essential oil molecules interact with your blood and positively influence hormones and enzymes.
Try a 5-minute or more dose of aromatherapy to treat any of the following ailments:
- Pain relief
- Hair loss
- Itchy skin
Rose, lavender, and frankincense are particularly effective at reducing anxiety and fear (clinical studies have shown that these essential oils reduce symptoms of each in pregnant women). Likewise, peppermint oil can purportedly calm nausea and vomiting during labor. Citrus oils are terrific immune boosters, as they are both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
To diffuse essential oils in a diffuser, add water, several drops of essential oil, plug in, and breath in the mist. You can also apply essential oils topically, but be sure to dilute in a carrier oil like sweet almond oil or jojoba oil. Massage into skin and inhale deeply!